Vegan-Friendly: Using Spices And Seasonings For Meatless Meals
11/08/2012 | 01:42 PM
By: Daelyn Fortney
While the benefits of veganism have long been understood (reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancers), many people shy away from a plant-based diet in fear that the food is boring and tasteless. This unfortunate belief couldn’t be farther from the truth.
A vegan diet, which is void of all products derived from animals including meat, fish, dairy and eggs, can be a delicious journey that will titillate your taste buds with new and exciting flavors.
Once animal products are removed from dishes, it’s quickly evident that much of our enjoyment of food comes from the way it is spiced. Veganism takes plant-based proteins, such as beans, tofu, tempeh and seitan, and dresses them up with herbs and spices with which meat-eaters are familiar. Here are three great examples of delicious spiced up vegan entrees:
- Tasty Tacos
Let’s take a regular dinner in everyday households: Mexican night, and give it a spin. It’s easy to make this popular meal meatless with a couple small changes. Forgo the ground beef or turkey that’s traditionally used as taco filling and, instead, substitute it with black beans that have been cooked in seasoning consisting of chili powder, cumin, paprika and salt. Fill the taco with the black beans as well as lettuce and tomatoes. Skip the cheese and sour cream but add avocado instead – voila, meatless tacos. Pair the tacos with a side of spicy new potatoes and salad to round out the meal.
- Beef-less Burgers
Burgers are another dinnertime favorite. A ground beef patty alone isn’t very flavorful – it’s all the condiments and extras that make a burger mouthwatering. A lentil or black bean patty with a sprinkling of garlic powder, cumin and smoked seasoning, can be just as tasty as its beef counterpart. Don’t forget to add your favorite toppings such as sautéed onions, green peppers and mushrooms.
- Spicy Tofu
The thought of tofu is a turn-off to some. But with the proper preparation, it can become a mealtime favorite. After cutting the tofu into small cubes, create a marinade with olive oil, vinegar, chipotle seasoning, chili pepper, red pepper and cayenne pepper. Marinade for an hour, and then bake. The result: Tofu with a pop! Serve the tofu over brown rice for a delicious and nutritious feast.
Unlike popular belief, it’s easy to turn everyday meals into meatless masterpieces. Simply understand the flavors you are enjoying and replicate those with plant-based proteins. As you work more with spices and seasonings, you will discover that you can, in fact, still enjoy food while rewarding yourself with better health.
About the Author
Daelyn Fortney is the co-founder and managing director of This Dish is Veg, a site dedicated to vegan, animal welfare and eco-friendly news and opinion pieces. She is a passionate advocate of the vegan lifestyle and teaches others that a plant-based diet is not only ideal for the earth and animals, it’s also the perfect way to achieve ultimate health. In addition to her work, Daelyn is a fitness enthusiast and mom to three daughters.